Category: Be Present Empowerment Model

Lillie Pearl Allen: A 35-Year Legacy of Black Women’s Leadership

Thirty-five years ago, in 1983, Lillie Pearl Allen led the Black & Female: What is the Reality workshop at the first Black Women’s Health Conference. Over a thousand Black women and girls participated in this workshop. This gathering marked the beginning of a social movement, created a legacy of leadership for justice that is inclusive of all people, and laid the foundation for the 1992 incorporation of Be Present, Inc.  

 Be Present is in the 5th year of our Black & Female Leadership Initiative that addresses both the lack and, too often, distortion of the voices and visibility of Black women’s leadership in the literature, historical record and dialogue on social justice movement-building. It also highlights the process as well as the achievements of using a collective leadership approach in creating a diverse national network of activists successfully moving social justice agendas in the United States.

 The June 21-24 National Black & Female Leadership Conference, open to everyone and held in Dahlonega, GA, will highlight Black Women’s leadership in building inclusive movements for social justice.

 This blog is the first in a series highlighting the Black Women who laid the foundation for Be Present, Inc., beginning at the beginning, with Lillie Pearl Allen: 

 My community activism emerged over 40 years ago from my own history and experiences. I was searching for the answers to the following questions: “How do I get to know the fullness of who I am? Not just someone’s best friend, caring mother or daughter of migrant farm workers. How do I thrive in this world and not just survive while living in a culture where people make assumptions about who I am based on my race, my gender, my class?” Read more

What I was… How I changed…Where I am going…What I know now

by Bob Holzman

This article started as a section of a personal fundraising letter on behalf of Be Present, Inc.  In three paragraphs, produced with support and feedback from my wife, Clare, as well as Margherita Vacchiano and Carletta Joy Walker, I described how 14 years of working in the Be Present Empowerment Model had affected me at the personal and professional levels.

I have worked to learn and practice this model for the last 14 years. While I was aware of the overt and implicit sexism, racism and classism in American society, it was still a revelation to uncover the effect of these “isms” when they were unconsciously incorporated in my own words and behavior.  I came to better understand how my actions elicited reactions in others and how to make changes in my behavior.  I became conscious of the signals my mind and body were sending when those actions were driven by otherwise unconscious processes. Read more

Finding the Missing Pieces

By Laurie Dreamspinner

The week that included the 2016 presidential election found me in Atlanta with five others from my Yellow Springs, Ohio inner circles. Be Present is an organization started by African American women 35 years ago. A main focus is the commitment “to a process that builds personal and community well-being on the strength of self-knowledge rather than on the distress of oppression.” Read more